National Museums Liverpool has joined with Alzheimer’s Society ambassador and chair of the Dementia 4 Schools project, Angela Rippon, to launch a brand new initiative encouraging young and old to share and create memories together.

As part of the House of Memories dementia awareness programme developed at the Museum of Liverpool, When I was little is designed for children aged three to seven to enjoy with their grandparents and older relatives.

Carol Rogers, said: “There are 800,000 people with dementia in the UK, and this number is set to rise to over 1 million by 2021. Social history museums like the Museum of Liverpool are experts at recording and caring for memories – whether they are thousands of years old or within ‘living memory’ – enabling people to explore and connect museum collections with their own personal histories.

When I was little helps children and their grandparents to have fun together and recognise that saving and sharing memories between generations is more important than ever.”

During their visit to the Museum of Liverpool, young visitors can borrow an individual backpack filled with activities to lead their grandparents and older relatives round the venue prompting them to recall and share childhood memories. The memories will be recorded in a special album for future reference and enjoyment.

Angela also met primary school children, who are helping the Museum to develop When I was little, for Liverpool local primary schools in September.

unnamedAngela Rippon said: “It’s so important that we involve young people in the vital work that’s being done across the country to create a dementia friendly generation. As dementia touches more and more of our everyday lives, educating children from a young age on the cause and effects can have a real impact on how they choose to interact with people living with dementia in the future.

When I was little is the perfect way of sowing the seed early that reminiscence and sharing memories is a valuable process. Museums and their collections are great resources for ‘unlocking’ memories, and can make a positive difference to the lives of people living with dementia, their carers, families and communities.”

The school version of When I was little is being supported by the Liverpool Learning Partnership.

Hazel Bayley, Regional Operations Manager for Alzheimer’s Society in the North West, said: “The Museum of Liverpool’s work is fantastic. Reminiscence activities are a great way to improve the well being of people living with dementia. This will bridge the gap between generations letting young people enjoy activities with their grandparents and older relatives.”

House of Memories – more information:

House of Memories has been running at the Museum of Liverpool since 2012, training 4,500 carers across Liverpool and the north to date.

The programme has received recognition from NHS England North West for their Learning Together in Health and Social Care Award 2013, and is cited as an example of best practice in the Museums Association’s new vision for the impact of museums: Museums Change Lives.

With the help of the Department of Health (DoH), House of Memories teamed up with health, social care and museum partners in the north of England in 2013 to take the training into other cultural venues, and in March 2014 took to the road again to the Midlands, demonstrating an innovative approach that is transferable to any town or city.

Norman Lamb, MP, Minister of State for Care and Support:

“I am wholly supportive of House of Memories. It is an exceptional project. National Museums Liverpool provides an innovative training programme that is making a real difference for social care staff by helping them to connect with the people with dementia whom they support every day…It is fantastic that the cultural sector is involved in work on dementia; it is a great collaboration. Getting the medical profession to consider new and different approaches beyond pure medicine can be very powerful. This work is critically important in supporting our drive to create more dementia-friendly communities.”

www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/houseofmemories